Ventilation ducts in Hollywood


While brainstorming a blog post on ventilation ducts, one of the first images that popped into my head was Bruce Willis. The action hero is one of many who has used a duct to break in, escape or otherwise evade his enemies. But like a doctor watching an episode of E.R, the building services engineer will wince when this corny cinema cliché flashes across the screen. does a great job of exploding this and other myths from the movie world.

When heroes find themselves trapped in a room with all doors and windows locked, the quickest exit is always through the ventilation duct. Air vents also work excellently in reverse for breaking in and infiltrating a facility, as well. Covers require little or no effort to remove, openings are always within reach, they’re always able to support the weight of a person even though they were only designed to carry air, they are wide enough in diameter to allow an adult to pass through, there are no internal obstacles like bracing or blowers (except for the occasional menacing giant fan blocking the branching corridors), they are free of normal sheet metal’s dangerously sharp edges, they are totally soundproof, and there’s never a lack of light or chance of getting lost unless the plot calls for it.
And the escapee always emerges without having picked up so much as a speck of dust.

The lo-fi website also covers this misconception, along with other common mistakes from the movies and misconceptions from general life.

* All ventilation shafts and ducts are easily accessible.
* Ducts are the right size for people to crawl along.
* The air flow system will not be turned on while you are crawling through the tunnels.
* All ventilation systems lead somewhere, usually somewhere useful.
* All ventilation shafts are well lit.
* All ventilation shafts are CLEAN.

However, if you are serious about ventilation, heating and air conditioning, have a look at product comparison and other resources on Building Services.


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One Response to “Ventilation ducts in Hollywood”

  1. Fire sprinklers in the movies « Building Design Says:

    […] debunking the myths surrounding ventilation ducts in Hollywood, we take a quick look at the frequent faux pas that are made with fire […]

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